Friday, October 2, 2015

TOP STORY >> Peruvian exchange program builds human capital

By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs 

Little Rock Air Force Base is no stranger to international training, and Airmen here have trained military members from six different continents. However, one training program exists that sets itself apart from the rest.  

Capt. Javier Camacho, a Peruvian Air Force logistics officer, has been working alongside 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airmen here for a year and a half. He is the third Peruvian Air Force officer to do so since 2010. 

Unlike most international students who train at Little Rock AFB, Camacho is not a pilot and does not fly aboard C-130s.  

“I volunteered for this logistics exchange program and was lucky enough to be selected,” Camacho said. “I worked in C-130 logistics in Peru, so Little Rock is a good place for me to learn.” 

Camacho’s tour here is a total of 25 months. While he is stationed here, an American Airman is simultaneously learning Peruvian Air Force logistics operations in Lima, Peru’s capital. 

“I’ve already learned a lot here,” Camacho said. “One of our biggest logistical challenges in Peru is our budget. It’s apparent that the U.S. Air Force has a much larger budget than we have.” 

Camacho cited one example where U.S. and Peruvian Airmen learned from each other, despite funding differences.  

“I remember hearing about a U.S. military helicopter that ran out of fuel and landed in the Peruvian jungle,” he said. “There was a portable fuel bladder located fairly nearby, but it had holes. Since it was damaged, the U.S. troops planned to wait five more days for a new fuel bladder to be sent. Instead, Peruvian airmen patched up the holes and got fuel to the helicopter much faster.” 

Camacho will gain experience working in three different sections of the 19th LRS before heading back to Peru. 

He has already observed how materiel management Airmen maintain and provide equipment and supplies for C-130 combat airlift operations.  He is currently working in the fuels section learning how specialists refuel Air Force vehicles and aircraft and how all petroleum products are received, stored and tracked.  

“The last place I will work before heading back is with the aerial port flight,” Camacho said. 

Peru has approximately ten C-130s. Currently, the Peruvian Air Force does not perform airdrops.

“Our C-130s don’t eject cargo for in-flight delivery,” said Camacho. “So our logistics squadrons don’t train to rig parachutes for equipment.  However, I hope that in the future, our C-130s and airmen will have that capability.” 

Only time will tell if the U.S. Air Force will further aid Peru in the development of airpower abilities. In June 2013, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and U.S. President Barack Obama promised to strengthen ties between both nations, including in the fight against narcotics trafficking and in tightening economic ties.

Though Camacho is learning a lot, he looks forward to returning home. 

“I really miss my friends and family,” Camacho said. “I especially miss Peruvian food.” 

When Camacho is not working or communicating with friends and family back home, he gets involved with a favorite Peruvian pastime, by refereeing at local soccer games near base.

“I hope that by participating in this exchange program, I’ve helped in building a better future for both the U.S. and Peru.” Camacho said. 

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